The only logical explanation (even in jest) that people don’t believe in or join the church is because they haven’t thought about it long enough. They haven’t thought about it hard enough. This is a coy remark from President Hinckley during his 60 Minutes interview. Mike Wallace asks about heaven and states that many people don’t believe in it. Hinckley responds “But you could,” setting up the mindset that belief is a simple choice. Just turn it on and you can be happy like us. Fake it til you make it.
Wallace responds that he’s thought about it, and has not been able to persuade himself that it is true. This is a reasonable and thoughtful answer. Then have Hinckley’s quip that he must not have thought about it long enough. This is a jab saying that I’m right and you’re wrong, you just haven’t figured it out yet. It is said in good humor and as a jest, but also reveals a real issue with Mormonism. Belief is required despite any thoughtful consideration. We are required to believe, and if we don’t keep trying to believe. This makes us the problem, not the church.
If we don’t believe in the claims the church makes, we must follow the advice of the scriptures and first come up with a desire to believe, then do all we can to convince ourselves, if that doesn’t work, do it again. Eventually, we’ll arrive at a place where we either decide to believe (because that’s easier), or we’ve put our mind into a state of stress that we can interpret anything as an answer to our prayers. This is what thinking about it long enough means, eventually, we can talk ourselves into it if we make a fervent enough plea. That’s what Moroni’s promise is! Instructions to talk yourself into thinking you believe.
Mormons believe that after they die, their families will be reunited and will live together forever in heaven. “We know it’s there. We have an assurance of that,” Hinckley told Wallace.
“There’s a lot of us that don’t,” Wallace replied.
“Yeah, I know that,” Hinckley said. “But you could.”
“I’ve thought about it. I’ve not been able to persuade myself,” Wallace said.
Hinckley’s reply? “Well, you haven’t thought about it long enough.”60 Minutes: Gordon B. Hinckley Interviewed by Mike Wallace
This follows the general mindset that if you want to know and ask deeply enough, with a pure heart, God will manifest truth to you through the Holy Ghost. If you want it enough, if you want it to be true deep down, when you ask any positive feeling can substantiate an answer from God. That is what testimonies are built on. People make life choices based on a feeling they one time had when really hoping something they were told was true. Mormons will virtue signal all day long in testimony meetings and missionary discussions about how they had a feeling that they attribute to the Holy Ghost, and this feeling answers all life’s questions and shows them the path to follow.
Namely the church’s path. They were to serve a mission, marry young, start a family young, serve in the church, give the church money, go to the temple… all these things are life-changing decisions which once you have an emotional response to a question – the church expects all these decisions to have been made for you.